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tv   BBC World News  BBC America  August 27, 2014 7:00am-8:01am EDT

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[ brakes screech ] flo: unh... [ tires squeal, brakes screech, horn honks ] ooh, ooh! [ back-up beeping, honking ] a truckload of discounts for your business -- now, that's progressive. hello. you're watching "gmt" here on bbc world news. with a cease-fire in gaza supposedly long-term now in place, what happens next to address the root causes of a seemingly endless spiral of conflict? as signs of normality return to gaza, we'll hear from senior politicians on both sides about the chances of lasting peace. >> this was an unnecessary round of violence between us and the palestinians, hamas and gaza, that brought only misery and suffering to both sides. afghanistan's fragile political agreement is in danger of collapse as one side pulls
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out of a key deal to check all the votes from a disputed presidential election. abdullah abdullah tells the bbc too many fraudulent votes have been slipping through the net. it's meltdown at manchester united as one of the world's richest sports teams is stomped 4-0 by a little-known english club. also in the program, aaron is here with the head of the imf in the spotlight. >> and for all the wrong reasons. here she is. christine lagarde, the current big boss of the international monetary fund, is now under official investigation. so we're going to go live to paris to find out how and why she is caught up in a scandal that's rocking france. it's midday in london. 7:00 a.m. in washington. 2:00 p.m. in gaza.
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palestinians and israelis on both sides of the border are waiting and hoping a long-term truce will continue to hold. there have been several cease-fires since the conflict reignited in july. since then, more than 2,000 palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians. 64 israeli soldiers have died, 5 civilians, and a thai national. financially, the cost to israel is estimated to be in the billions. in gaza, hundreds of factories have been destroyed and farmland ruined. so now the long process of trying to return to a normal life begins. the bbc's quentin somerville has visited a local beach in gaza. >> reporter: well, you may not even recognize gaza today. we haven't seen scenes like this in a long time. families playing in the surf, the fishermen back in their boats, out at sea, checking their nets. quite a transformation.
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it's more than 12 hours since the cease-fire was declared. what's more extraordinary than these scenes and these happy faces over here, is the fact that overnight we didn't hear any israeli artillery, and we didn't hear any rockets being fired if from gaza into israeli territory. and there were no deaths overnight. those are the immediate benefits of the cease-fire. but if we just have a look over here at gaza city proper, you can't quite see the damage, but just beyond the sea front, there's been extraordinary damage. entire apartment blocks brought down by israeli air strikes. by lifting the blockade and allowing building materials back in to gaza, the expectation is that the rebuilding can begin. now, this is only a truce. it's not actually a peace deal. much more work needs to be done for that. u.s. secretary of state john kerry has said that this
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cease-fire is an opportunity not a certainty. now, the last eight cease-fires didn't last very long. some for a few hours, some for a matter of days. the hope is this time this one will stick. there's a lot of work to be done by israel and by hamas to ensure that this scene lasts longer this time. >> that's quentin somerville on the beach there in gaza. we'll be hearing from a senior palestinian politician in a few minutes. but first, steven sacker is in jerusalem. he's been speaking to israel's intelligence minister. you just finished that interview. >> yeah, i've just come from a session with israel's intelligence minister. he's one of the first ministers to speak in public since the cease-fire announcement was made last night here in israel. i would say there's a sense of weary resignation mixed with frustration in israel. there's none of the tri yum
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fallism we saw in the streets of ga gaza in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. in fact, none at all. i asked him why, in his first reaction, he'd said that the deal left a sour taste, and this is what he said to me. >> for 50 days now, we were under daily rocket attacks and mortar attacks from gaza. it was supposed to be totally demilitarized by the palestinian authority. actually, for nothing. this was an unnecessary round of violence between us and the palestinians and hamas in gaza. it brought only misery and suffering to both sides without any significant cause, without any significant effect. >> and without any significant strategic achievement on israel's side. would you accept that? it has been a strategic failure. >> no, i don't accept this.
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look, our main purpose, like any democratic government, is to protect our people, our citizens. if now we'll have a long cease-fire and have deterrence, then we achieved our goal. but we paid a very expensive price with 70 casualties on our side, with people that have to flee their homes in the south of israel because of the daily mortars. this is a heavy price for a democratic state to pay. >> steve, everybody looking at the situation today and wondering what can be done to stop the same thing happening yet again. what did the minister have to say about the long-term prospects? >> i think israelis are very aware we've been here before and we might be here again. i'll point you to a couple things he said that struck me as interesting. he said to me probably more
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publicly than any minister has said before that israel, the netanyahu government, came very close to a decision to order a full military reoccupation of gaza. there are clearly splits in the cabinet right now. some ministers clearly believe that reoccupation was the right way to deal with, and in their view, eliminate the hamas threat. it never happened, but it clearly came close. the message was, if rockets start coming over again from gaza, then there will be a military reoccupation. on another point, which is very important for israel, that is the standing of israel in the international community, the minister acknowledged to me that serious damage had been done. but he accused the u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon. he even suggested the united states and u.k., too, were guilty of double standards and hypocrisy. clearly the israeli government is very sensitive to this idea that what they did over 50 days
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in gaza has seriously harmed their international reputation. on one further point, just a specific one, i asked him whether israel would now cooperate with the u.n. and human rights council's committee investigation into alleged breaches of international law during conflict in gaza. he said quite plainly, no, i do not think we will. clearly the israelis are going to hang tough on this. they do not like the u.n.'s investigation, and they are, it seems, intent on noncooperation. i think that's a story that we will continue to follow and, of course, the idea that there may be some attempt by the international criminal court in the hague to investigation what went on during this conflict. something clearly the israelis do not want. >> steven, more generally, what external bodies or parties are there in this process who will be monitoring this cease-fire to check that both sides are
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sticking to what they agreed? >> well, the key players in this are the egyptian government, who of course mediated the deal. and it's interesting to note that while the netanyahu government has always said it will never engage in a dialogue or negotiation with hamas, that is effectsiively what happened, albeit through egyptian mediation. and of course the americans remain very important. and that u.s./israel relationship, i would say, still remains very fragile. i said, you know what, one u.s. ambassador who used to serve has called the relationship dysfunctional. he tried to suggest that wasn't true. he said we trail haactually hav relationship. but i think we know there's no love lost between netanyahu and obama. but clearly, egypt, the americans, maybe the eu with a role as well, are going to be
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watching very closely to see what happens with this cease-fire and hope fervently that it holds. >> stephen, thanks very much. and you can see stephen's full interview on "hard talk" on thursday on bbc world news throughout the day. well, the leader of the palestinian national initiative has been involved in those cease-fire negotiations. he's in ramallah. thank you for being with us. welcome. just, can you outline to me the difference between the agreement we have now and the one back in 2012? because on the face of it, there's not much difference between them. >> i think there is a clearer understanding about lifting the siege on gaza and the sense that the passages have to be open, not only for humanitarian need, but also for reconstruction materials. of course, that's not enough.
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and i think the relifting of the siege will only happen if there'ses s a free sea port ande sea passage. only then we can talk about the lifting of the siege and gaza can have a real chance for reconstructing what israel has damaged, which is huge damage. we are talking about more than 20,000 homes, houses, institutions that are partially or completely destroyed. besides, of course, the huge human loss where israel has killed 2,142 palestinians, including 577 children. >> israel said this very agreement was tabled a few days ago and hamas rejected it then. is that true? >> that's a big lie because israel broke the negotiations a week ago because they had the impression they could kill one of hamas' leaders. that's why they withdrew their delegation.
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it claimed there was a breach from the palestinian side, which proved to be untrue. and israel violated the cease-fire, which was existing then and conducted a horrible attack, which led to a whole week of bloodshed. so far israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. and we are determined as palestinians regardless of this agreement to take israel to the international criminal court and hold them responsible for the war crimes they have conducted against the palestinian population. >> okay. as you know, israel would deny that categorically. but i want to ask you, you've mentioned the death tolls. looking at the picture as it is, the state of gaza as it is, is anybody a victor here? because both sides seem to be claiming victory. >> no, it's a relative matter. palestinians did not conduct this war. they did not initiate this war. neither did the palestinian people or hamas itself. israel initiated this war with three or four aims.
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their first goal was to reoccupy gaza and approach resistance there and they failed. the second was to break the palestinian political will, and they failed. their third goal was to break palestinian unity, and israel failed. their fourth goal was to break the isolation of the israeli political position internationally, and they failed. now israel is the most hated country worldwide because of its aggression and crimes against the palestinian population. so in reality, israel conducted a war that has failed. palestinians defended themselves. they did not want this war. and because israel has failed, of course it's a palestinian victory. >> doctor, we have to leave it there. i'm afraid we're out of time. thank you very much for joining us from ramallah. let's take you to other news from around the world. public executions, amputations, even crucifixions have become a regular fixture in jihadist-controlled areas in syria.
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that's according to a graphic report from a u.n. human rights group. the syrian government is also blamed for its share of abuse and death. the report says civilians are being killed due to the indiscriminate firing of missiles. an american journalist freed on sunday after being held captive by syrian militants for nearly two years has arrived back in the united states. peter theo curtis said he was moved by all the people who welcomed him home. he'd been held by the al nusra front, the group fighting the syrian government. the russian president, vladimir putin, says russia will do everything it can do promote peace in ukraine, but it's up to the government in kiev to settle its differences with the breakaway administrations in eastern ukraine. his comments come after the talks with his ukrainian counterpart petro poroshenko on tuesday. mr. poroshenko said a road map will be prepared for agreeing a cease-fire in the east of
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ukraine. california has been hit by its worst drought in a century. authorities are drilling deeper and more often in search of ground water but with little success. many people say the problem is only going to get worse. >> nothing. >> reporter: two months ago, olivia vargas' taps just ran dry. >> nothing. >> reporter: the ground water level dropped beyond the reach of her well. now only air comes out. she's one of hundreds of households affected. depending on neighbors to share as they can't afford to dig deeper wells. and it's hard for farmers too. this rig is digging a well 400 meters deep. it costs nearly $500,000. without rain, tapping ground water is the only way to keep crops alive.
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but with unregulated drilling, nobody knows how long it will last. and a lot of farmers want wells. california's central valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas on the planet. around 80% of the world's almonds grow here. but the trees need water, and the farmers say the government must build more reservoirs. >> they've done a great job of increasing the population of california, but they've paid no heed to the infrastructure it takes to support the doubling of population we had in 30 years. i can't tell you if there's climate change or if this is just a new normal. i can't predict it. i don't really think it is, but i won't make any decisions based on guessing what the weather is going to be for the next ten years. >> reporter: nasa satellites are tracking ground water reserves
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around the world. their data shows california's in big trouble. >> well, it's really bad. and it's bad because what we're seeing is we're having a tremendous loss of ground water in the central valley. i expect that it will accelerate over the next year because of the severity of the droughts. i absolutely expect that this will become the new normal. >> reporter: where i'm standing should be under water. this reservoir is just a fraction of its capacity. it's a third lower than it would normally be at this time of year. until the rains come, until these reservoirs fill up again, the farmers of california's central valley will continue to rely on precious ground water to feed their crops. until there's nothing left. bbc news in california central valley. stay with us here on "bbc world news." still to come, one of the world's richest sporting teams continues a very poor start to the season.
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afghanistan's immediate political future seems close to collapse after one of the presidential candidates, abdullah abdullah, withdrew from a process to double check all the votes. both he and his rival claim to have won june's election. the audit is all part of a u.n.-brokered deal to try to find the winner and bring stability to the country. david loyn has the latest from kabul. >> reporter: tensions are high as afghanistan still struggles to find a winner in an election that began with the first round of voting back in april. minor fights between rival party workers are an almost daily event in the warehouses where the recount is taking place. but now observers working for this candidate, abdullah abdullah, have walked out, saying fraud has not been dealt
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with. >> the vote invalidation criteria, which was anticipated, was not sufficient to assess the different types of fraudulent vote which was cast on the ballot papers which were used. that was one. next to that, announcement of the result came in a way that was quite against contrary to the process, both to the procedures that was promised to us, that it be done in front of our agents and media. in only a matter of ten minutes, they announced the results for around 3,000 ballot boxes, which this was also not acceptable. >> reporter: the other candidate, ashraf gani, comfortably ahead in the disp e disputed count, held a meeting with the u.s. forces in kabul yesterday. he said the abdullah protest has come too late.
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>> if 75% of the process has been vetted in the presence of international observers, under the provisions of the united nations, how can they say this will not be a fair process? >> reporter: and now ashraf gani's campaign team has pulled out, too, at the request of the u.n., who will supervise the process on their own alongside afghan election officials. the decision by abdullah's team to withdraw from observing the audit process means many afghans will never accept that it's fair. and it makes major street protests far more likely. a breakdown in law and order would only encourage the taliban and make international donors cut funds more quickly. failure to deal with fraud here could have dire consequences. david loyn, bbc news, kabul.
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now, it's not often a football team in the third tier of english football become a worldwide trends on social media, but that's what happened when mk dons beat manchester united 4-0 last night in a cup match. if you've never heard of mk dons, i doubt you're alone. it would cost just under $400,000 to buy the entire mk dons squad, which is less than man u striker wayne rooney's weekly earnings of almost $500,000. it is another huge blow for manchester united. they have lost one and drawn one of their first two premier league matches, all after the excitement of a new manager regarded as one of the best of them in the world. from oxford, we can speak to jim white, a sports writer for "the telegraph" newspaper. i believe you were at the match last night. how bad was it? >> it wasn't a defeat.
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i think we can classify this as a total an abject humiliation. that's being kind. >> the hash tag things better than manchester united, is doing pretty well on twitter. among the suggestions, hangovers, ingrown hairs, brazil's defense in the world cup this year. not an exactly positive reflection of how they're doing so far this season. >> no, it isn't. i think what we saw last night was that even the arrival of a manager as elevated as louis van gaal, an excellent man manager, an excellent tactician, isn't going to quickly address what appears to be an institutional decline in confidence and skill. >> so it wasn't just david moyes. we're seeing this thing continue into the next -- the second manager after alex ferguson's departure. what exactly are you seeing the problem as being?
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>> i think what alex ferguson did for years was run the club in his own image. and i think what happened in some of their rival teams, like real madrid, barcelona, chelsea, manchester city, was a rapid modernization of their back room staff. for instance, barcelona have 18 people in their research department looking ahead at who they may buy in the transfer window. manchester united relied for a long, long time, for a quarter of a century, simply on sir alex ferguson's instinct. i think this period of catch up is what they're engaged in at the moment. and it's a very, very ferocious climb they've got to make. >> jim, i wish we had more time, but we're out of time. thank you very much, jim white, joining us from oxford from "the telegraph" newspaper here in the u.k. and that hash tag, things better than manchester unite, you might
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want to take a look at it. if you want to get in touch with us, you can do so on social media. we also have a bbc world news facebook page. coming up in the next half hour, the colombian drug hitman who killed hundreds has been released from prison. we'll have a report on popeye. you pay your auto insurance premium every month on the dot. you're like the poster child for paying on time. and then one day you tap the bumper of a station wagon. no big deal... until your insurance company jacks up your rates. you freak out.
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in this half hour, we'll hear about pablo escobar's right-hand man known as popeye. he was responsible for thousands of killings, so why is he being released from jail? with fears in china that the skill of writing is dying out, we get a lesson in chinese calligraphy. also, aaron is back with a new law to help stop mobile phone theft. >> absolutely. come july next year, all smartphones in california have to come with a so-called kill switch to render them useless if
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lost or stolen. it is certainly the most robust response in the united states, where more than 3 million phones were stolen last year. the colombian drug lord pablo escobar is probably one of the world's most more notorious criminals. popeye is thought to have killed hundreds of people and ordered the murder of thousands more during the '80s and '90s. but he's now being released from prison after 22 years. with me, william marquez from bbc mundo, who's lived through some of the worst violence in colombia. tell us about this figure of
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popeye. how legendary is he? >> he's the ideal man for a criminal organization. bloody, determined and loyal. he, by his own account, has killed more than 250 people, ordered the assassination or responsible for the death of about 3,000 more. led kidnaps, coordinated bombs, a bombing campaign against the government and its institutions, was guilty of torture. all of this confessed. so i would say that he's quite a legend. >> and so why has it come to this point now after admitting to all of these murders and serving time that the authorities see fit to release him? >> in spite of the horrible things that he's done, according to colombian law, he's paid his debt to society. when he handed himself in, there was some sort of accord where he would have his sentence reduced. it was originally for 35 years, approximately. he paid 24. and now he can go out on parole.
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>> what is the action when you get a figure like this out again? >> people are appalled. they say, how can a man who's done all this stuff go free just like that? but others just say this happens in colombia. one of those contradictions in the justice system. they say that he's paid his debt to society. by the way, he's one of the only surviving members of the cartel to have been in jail and paid any sort of prison term in colombia. so in the eyes of some people, he has, indeed, paid his debt to society. >> i've heard you talking about him as a row mant s row -- roma figure. >> well, yes, they did indeed give money to poor people.
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they built homes, built a stadium. he had a zoo opened for people. and to a certain degree, there's a ro mant sized aspect to these criminals, until you really learn what they did. so in that sense, some people who still admire pablo escobar and popeye, and he himself said if pablo escobar was still alive, he'd go with him. >> very briefly, what is he going to do? >> that's the problem. i suppose the relief for some of the victims. he collaborated with the state. he's implicated high political figures, other mafia members, some people of the military. so there's a price on his head. he's going to have to look over his back everywhere he goes if, indeed, he doesn't have to live an anonymous life. >> william marquez, fascinating. thank you very much.
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now, a 9-year-old girl in the u.s. has accidently kill her shooting instructor while being shown how to use a high-power automatic weapon. the child was having a lesson at the firing range in arizona when she pulled the trigger on an uzi submachine gun and lost control of it. >> otherwise the gun won't fire, okay? >> reporter: just 9 years old with a loaded machine gun in her hands. >> okay. turn this leg forward. there you go. just like that. >> reporter: the little girl is shown how to fire the lethal weapon. >> give me one shot. all right. >> reporter: moments later, unable to control the gun's recoil, she accidently shoots the instructor. the 39-year-old former soldier, who was married with a young family, was air lifted to hospital but died shortly afterwards. the shooting range is known as
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bullets and burgers and is marketed as a family day out to include lunch and the choice of more than 20 automatic weapons to fire. it's been defending the policy of allowing children to handle guns. >> a 9-year-old gets an uzi in her hand. it's in the criteria as 8 years old. reinstruct kids as young as 5 in .22 rifles. they don't get to handle high-power firearms. they're under the supervision of their parents and our professional range masters. >> reporter: the tragedy has reignited the controversy over gun control in the u.s. many americans cherish their right to bear arms, but the debate over whether that right should be shared by the nation's children is intensifying. you're watching "gmt" here on bbc world news. aaron is here with all the business news and another imf chief in the spotlight. >> yeah, and again as we mentioned, in the spotlight for
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not the right reasons. involved in a scandal -- allegedly involved in a scandal that's rocking france at the moment. let me explain more. the head of the international monetary fund, here she is right here, the big boss, christine lagarde, is now under formal investigation as a part of a fraud scandal that i mentioned has really rocked the country. it relates to the sale of a state-owned bank going back more than two decades ago. let's go to paris and join our own lucy williamson. great to have you on the program. for viewers around the world, give us some of the background here. what is the investigation all about? >> well, it is a pretty complicated case. it's been going on for a very long time, as you say. what's really happened today is christine lagarde has been placed under formal investigation by the investigators in this case. she's being investigated for negligence. her part in this investigation dates back to 2008 when she was
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french finance minister and to an arbitration panel she set up to resolve a dispute between the businessman and the french state. he alleged the french state owed him compensation for a company he believed he had undersold more than 20 years ago. he received a big payout as a result of that arbitration panel, and this investigation is looking into whether there was any kind of political influence, any kind of special treatment that he got as a result of his political support for the then-president. so as christine lagarde's time as finance minister that's in question. >> what does formal investigation actually mean? what does it mean for christine lagarde? >> it's quite -- again, quite a complicated term for those outside france to understand. it's somewhere in between being questioned and being charged. it's not yet formal charges, but
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it does imply that there's some kind of substance that the investigators want to pursue further. so formal investigations can often go on for years. they may or may not lead to charges and a trial at the end of it. certainly christine lagarde has said she's going to appeal this decision to place her under formal investigation and has disputed there's any grounds for them to be doing this. >> yeah, just very briefly, i guess doesn't help the reputation, does it, of the imf? >> yeah, they've had a fairly tough time in recent years. their previous head, dominique strauss-kahn, left while he was embroiled in a scandal. he was later cleared of the charges he was facing at the time. whether ms. lagarde was being considered for this post, there were questions raised about this long-running dispute and whether it might rear its head again. it seems to have done so. but there are no charges as yet
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against ms. lagarde. >> okay. great stuff, lucy. busy week for you in your first week starting there in france. we'll talk to you very soon. thank you very much. she's just taken up that post over there. okay. let's talk about this. more than 3 million mobile phones were stolen in the united states alone just last year. in california, the thefts account for half of all street crime in some of the big cities there, like san francisco. but from next july, a new law means that all smartphones sold in california will have to have a so-called kill switch, making them useless if lost or stolen. we let's go to our tech journalist who joins us. good to see you, rupert. let's start with this. i want to know, how would this actually work? my iphone, it's already got one, doesn't it? >> it has. what this law is saying is all phones have to have this next year. what apple does and what samsung
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do is basically what everyone will get. if you lose your phone or it gets stolen, you tell your operator and it turns your phone into an expensive paperweight. >> so what does that mean, this law, what does that mean for the manufacturers and the providers, the service providers? >> well, manufacturers, not very much. they haven't gone to the full-on kill switch when you have to make the electronics break permanently. instead, it's just something providers have to support by sending a signal to your phone over the network that shuts your phone down. it should mean people don't need as many phones. if many aren't stolen, they won't need as many phones. so there has been pushback from phone industry. >> i wonder if people will be questioning, could this create a whole new industry for, i don't know, hackers to -- you know, you got this dead paperweight, but they can get into it and
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reactivate it. >> yes, a few things that could happen. they could do that. in fact, they probably will after some time find a way around it, in which case we'd be back into that familiar race of hackers versus normal people. the other thing is, the fear is people might deactivate it maliciously. that's unlikely to happen, but let's hope they engineer the security properly. >> i've got to go, but quickly, if i killed my phone and found it down the back of the sofa, could i reactivate it? >> according to the law, yes. sometimes no. >> rupert, always good stuff. thank you very much for joining us. follow me on twitter. lots going on. that's it with the business. >> very good question. i was wondering exactly the same thing. >> oh, my god, i found the phone but it's dead. >> sounds like my life. thanks, aaron. you're watching bbc world news. still to come, was she worth the wait? singer kate bush stages her
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first concert for 35 years. [ male announcer ] it's one of the most amazing things we build and it doesn't even fly. we build it in classrooms and exhibit halls, mentoring tomorrow's innovators. we build it raising roofs, preserving habitats and serving america's veterans. every day, thousands of boeing volunteers help make their communities the best they can be. building something better for all of us. ♪ building something better find yourself.. in an accomodation where you get to do whatever it is that you love to do! ♪ booking.yeah!
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you're watching "gmt" here on bbc world news. the top stories this hour. the cease-fire in gaza is holding as thousands go back to their ruined homes and fishermen are able to go to sea. the double checking of votes in afghanistan's disputed presidential election has stopped after one of the sides withdrew from the process. now, chinese writing, along with gun powder and paper, is considered by many chinese people as one of their primary contributions to civilization.
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but is the skill of writing chinese characters becoming a relic of history? we'll be getting a lesson in calligraphy here in a moment. but first, a report on how many in china are forgetting how to write their own language. >> reporter: millions in china tune into this television game show every week. it's like a spelling bee, but these young contestants must write chinese characters by hand. every stroke, every dash must be in the correct spot. after two tense rounds, this 17-year-old is bumped from the contest. >> translator: i wanted to compete before i was too hold. >> reporter: contestants typically spend months studying dictionaries to prepare for the show, but they're an exception. all over the country chinese people are forgetting how to write their own language without
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computerized help. there's no chinese alphabet. instead, each word is represented by a symbol or character with more than 85,000 of them. but the smartphones and computers used every day here have eliminated the need to remember how to write many of those characters. the result, it's possible to recognize characters without remembering how to write them. how serious is china's so-called character amnesia? we conducted a little exam of our own. this man struggled with the character for thumb. others had a tough time writing toad. easy to spell in english but tricky to master for chinese. and no one could write this famously difficult word, sneeze. but there's still hope for the humble paint brush. china's education ministry wants
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children to spend more time learning how to write. at this ageing public school, students practice their calligraphy every day inside a special classroom. >> translator: teachers and kids are remembering how to write together. it's common even for teachers like me to forget certain words. >> reporter: on warm days, practice takes place outdoors. a lesson the school's teachers say not just in learning to write but in a busy, changing china learning to slow down. preserving chinese that additra culture before it disappears. bbc news, beijing. >> so with me is the founder of meridian studies here in london, one of the best-known chinese language experts. you were noddi ding when you we watching that report. >> yeah, i think this is a kind of tragedy. all the chinese characters have
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some stories behind it. it's not only the ideology and philosophy and also some kinds of the imagination together. so this is quite important to keep chinese people for generations to learn how to write chinese hand, not a computer, not mobile. >> that must be becoming increasingly more difficult in a place like china, which is so advanced in technology. >> i think that's the big problem. fortunately, the government now is starting to recognize what will be important for keeping the culture long term, not only for the short term. i heard something from the chinese government that said they started to put -- emphasize writing in primary schools. >> but people may argue it's the
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changing times. this is technology. why do people still need to know all these characters and how to write them? 85,000 up to. how? >> actually, it's not 85. normally, we can use about 3,000 characters. people who graduate from university, 5,000. >> so 3,000 or 4,000 characters are really the common ones people would use every day. you've been doing beautiful calligraphy while we've been watching that report. just tell me, why is this art so important in keeping chinese writing alive? why is this part of it so vital? >> yes, like writing each character, the best teacher always tells students what are the stories behind the characters. >> what's the story here?
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>> here is what confucius said. >> don't pass on something you don't want yourself? >> yes. >> fascinating. you saw at the end of the report there, children with brushes, very methodically and calmly doing the calligraphy you're doing here. that's so different to the text, text, text, tap, tap, tap. how can the two continue to coexist? >> i think if you use the text messages, okay. but at home and school, you must write. it's your hand, your brain, and also your nerve system all together to make each character balanced and beautiful. >> as a foreigner, how does anybody hope to learn so many characters if they study mandarin? >> i don't think it would be very difficult. for instance, in my school now, we have some intensive courses. in four weeks, they can read
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about 200 characters. the way to teach is not only the character to repeat, it's telling the stories behind the characters. taking the stories, making them more attractive to students. then they start to learn. now, what are the characters? >> david, thank you so much. i know you have much experience teaching us here since the 1980s in london. thank you very much indeed. and before we came in, we asked david if he could do something special for us. here it is. what does it say? well, actually, it literally says, you are watching bbc world
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news right now. if you want to know any more about chinese characters and how it write them, lots more on our website. for that and more, go to now, the british singer kate bush has wowed fans here in london with her first live concert for 35 years. >> reporter: kate bush is back in hammersmith. 35 years after she ended her first and last tour here, taking to an extreme the old show biz adage, always leave them wanting more. >> i've been waiting. i'm so excited. i can't wait. >> i swore if she ever did a live show, no matter where it was, i would cross the atlantic even for just a weekend. >> reporter: the show has been shrouded in secrecy. all fan photography and recording has been banned with all these officially released images to mark the occasion. 19-year-old kate bush made a
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dramatic entrance in 1978 with her gothic romanticism. >> i would hope that it would do something, that people would like it. but the extent is just incredible. >> reporter: her style flips conspicuously between late '70s punk and disco pop. her performances have always been notable for their theatricality, which she learned from the avant guard dancer lindsay kempe, who was also an influence on another brit art popper. and like david bowie, kate bush has a reputation for being an enigmatic reclusive, which isn't entirely fair.
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she stopped performing live to concentrate on producing her own music and then had a family and then for the last few years has been combining the two. >> all the best artists aren't really part of a movement. they just stick out like a sore thumb. then people that follow become that movement. people like iggy pop and david bowie, they're them. i think kate is right up there with them. she's made some fantastic music over the years. >> reporter: kate bush is famously meticulous. she likes to be in control of every aspect of her work, including, of course, the show. which given its scale and complexity explains, at least to some extent, what she's been doing while she's away. just before we go, let's show you these pictures. a fire drill at a u.s. air force base going a little wrong. this is how it ended up. the alarm system was being
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tested. something triggered the suppression foam equipment inside the helicopters' hangars, and there was no stopping the spread of foam. not quite what the crews were expecting for a routine test. thanks for being with us. one child fail to get to the air sickness bag in time. another left his shoes on the plane... his shoes! and a third simply doesn't want to be here. ♪ until now... until right booking now. ♪ planet earth's number one accomodation site booking.yeah! the worlds most entertaining device with a color... colorfully brilliant screen that blows the competition out of the water. what is this? i thought i was doing the announcing... stunningly thin and effortlessly light..." i was literally about to say that.
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[ clock strikes ] the doctor: whoever those aliens are, they haven't just arrived, they've been here for a while. harriet jones, mp for flydale north. i thought i was prime minister now. [ unzipping ] aah! [ growl ] thank you all for wearing your i.d. cards. they'll help to identify the bodies. aah!


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